March 23, 2021

WFH: DAY 61/LENT 30. The anniversary of the first lockdown. On the way through the roads and streets between my house and the entrance to Parc Natur Penglais, I passed children heading (early) to the secondary school at the top of the hill. My mind returned to the days when I’d catch the No. 9 Hills of Tredegar coach from Price’s Shop on Gladstone Street, Abertillery, to my comprehensive school, some five miles away, at Nantyglo. 7.45 am: ‘Up!’:

8.45 am: Various adminy and emailery things had leaked into my inbox over night. (‘I must get the roof fixed.’) I booked a few days of annual leave, following the Easter weekend. It’s the only way to cut-out of the system with good conscience. I checked my PowerPoint in readiness for the morning’s contribution to the Postgraduate Writing Programme:

10.30 pm: I’d three quarters of an hour to conclude emails, re-arrange appointments, and look over my ‘Noisome Spirits’ website text. 11.15 pm: Room set-up. This is what I call a ‘blind-class’, because I didn’t set it up and had no idea who’d be present. In real-world delivery, I would’ve wandered around the seminar room, rudely tapping people to supply answers to my questions. When presentation and response are in-sync, a buzz is generated. Today, online participation from the ‘floor’ was a little slow to begin, but gathered momentum later on. (This mode of learning is, to my mind, still an uncomfortable second-best to face-to-face, group encounter.) 12.30 pm: Acquitted! All in all, the punters seemed to have got something from the workshop:

1.30 pm: Having downed baked beans on peanut butter on butter on toast on plate on table on floor on foundations on the ground (followed by a dollop of homemade rice pudding), I returned to my website project. Progress was painfully slow. That’s the way it is, sometimes. There’s no struggle when you’re repeating yourself, or simply going through the motions, or stating the blatantly obvious. Struggle often indicates that one is in uncharted territory. The way has to be discovered, travelled, and mapped all at the same time.

6.30 pm: Practise session. 7.30 pm: Back to the coalface. I do not wish to share all that I know about my work. (That would demystify.) I do not wish to either explain or interpret my work. (That would be a fool’s errand, and reductive.) I do not wish to make claims about the work that are not self-evident. (That would be either duplicitous or delusional.) I do not wish to make the work more palatable by my words. (That would dishonour the work’s integrity, and be an act of self-betrayal.)

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